Ilam church, burial place of St Bertram, Derbyshire, England, UK
Ilam Church, Staffordshire, is the burial place of St Bertram and a place of pilgrimage. A lovely church with some Saxon parts. Close to Ilam Hall, once home of the Watts Russell and Port families.
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The saint's tomb lies in the church, a trim little building sitting apart from the rest of the village. The church was originally within the village - but the village was moved by Jesse Watts Russell to improve the view from the hall he built here in the 1820s. Some small parts of Saxon architecture may still be traced on the south wall where there is a walled-up old Saxon doorway, and there are the stumps of two Saxon crosses in the churchyard. Inside the church there is a magnificent Saxon font, which is worth a visit for itself.
If you want to walk around then start from the tea-room and cross the Italian Gardens heading east towards St Bertram's well, which is just south of the church. This is said to have provided fresh water here since Saxon times. Just further on, St Bertram's bridge is the old bridge across the Manifold, and was the main crossing until the new bridge was built downstream in 1828.
Follow the river upstream a little way. On your right, in the woods, lies a grotto where the playwright William Congreave is said to have written his first play, 'The Old Bachelor' in 1689. The path emerges from the trees and follows their edge, moving away from the river bank. This is 'Paradise Walk', created as a place where the hall guests could take their exercise. The path takes you past 'The Battlestone', a Saxon cross unearthed during the building of the new Ilam village and which is thought to commemorate a battle with the Danes.
At the end of Paradise Walk you reach the river again and can either follow it upstream and return to the hall across the park, or cross the footbridge and take the sometimes steep and slippery path through Hinkley Wood, which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) on account of its numerous Lime trees. This path returns you to St Bertram's bridge, giving some good views of the Hall en route.
Ilam Church and Hall Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
How to get there
Take the A515 Buxton road out of Ashbourne and turn left onto the minor road signposted to Thorpe and Dovedale. Pass through Thorpe, cross the River Dove and arrive in Ilam. The church is close to the cross, which is a copy of Charing Cross.
By Bus: the 443 bus from Ashbourne will take you to Ilam.
When is it open?
Usually open every day in day time.
What does it cost?
Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening
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